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Super Bowl Musings

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If you weren’t a Seattle Seahawks fan, chances are you watched about the first 10 minutes of the Super Bowl and decided, “Let’s see what’s on the Food Network,” and tuned out…as evidently the Denver Broncos did, nearly being shut out by a final score of 43-8.

Lots of PR lessons though to be learned here. One, the importance of showing CLASS. Rather than succumbing to emotion, Denver quarterback Peyton Manning, pretty much the face of the Broncos franchise, conducted interviews that were straight out of Media Relations 101.

One, don’t get overly emotional. You’re the quarterback. You’re supposed to be in control. It’s like being the President, only instead of being President of a country, you’re the head of a football team and the “fan nation” that surrounds it. So you can't afford to "lose it" on camera. It's okay to feel bad, angry, sad, enraged, etc. Just don't SHOW it.

Two, give credit where credit is due. Peyton was sure to doff his metaphorical cap to Seattle, noting their excellent defense.

Three, give blame where blame is due. He did not make excuse, point fingers, accuse a bad can of Chunky’s soup for the on-field debacle.

Four, keep it short and sweet. Get your message across, and get out the door.

Which he did, on all counts. Well done.

Next. The half-time show.

If you’re like me, the half-time show means (1) time to hit the head (2) make a sandwich and (3) see if there’s breaking Orioles news on the MLB Network (there wasn’t, nerts), not necessarily in that order.

Why? Because the half-time show is sort of like watching fireworks on TV (and there were fireworks or at least laser lights and bells and whistles, the adult-version of keys being jangled before a baby). To truly appreciate all the pomp and pyrotechnics, you need to be there.

So, our controversy? The highlighted band, Red Hot Chili Peppers (whom I believe were really big back in 1998…and not now) was evidently not really playing. One of the musicians was shown to be performing with an electric guitar…which wasn’t plugged in.

One must realize that in today’s world where EVERYONE. HAS. A. CAMERA-- EVERYONE!—you’re just not going to be able to “pull a fast one” particularly in front of 100,000 people or however many folks were cramming the stadium in New Jersey (the photo of the unplugged guitar was quickly slammed all over the social media world).

So, either (1) try to find a way to have bands ACTUALLY PLAY at the Super Bowl halftime show, or (2) just get rid of the idea of live musical performances. Have a contest among high schools to have the top three high school marching bands perform. Create a video with music that shows some of the highlights of the season. Shoot off fireworks (you don’t’ have to fake those). Have five fans picked at random try to kick a field goal for a million dollars. Whatever it is, just be HONEST about it.

Of course, I couldn’t write a PR blog about the Super Bowl without at least touching on the commercial spots that were aired.

Unlike past years, when mini-Darth Vaders started cars with “the Force” (or thought they did) or we watched cowboys wrangle cats or beer bottles battle on the gridiron (personally, I always liked the Bud Bowl spots), this year’s commercials seemed a bit more, well, mature.

The problem with advertising is, sometimes it can be too creative for its own good. You’re so wowed by the spot, you forget about the product it is supposed to be promoting. I THINK the Darth Vader spot was for Volkswagen but I wouldn’t bet the location of the rebel base on it. The cats one? I have no clue.

This year, commercials were actually MEMORABLE in terms of the client. My favorite was the spot for Radio Shack. A radio shack store is attacked by the 80s, as iconic 80s figures like Mary Lou Retton, Hulk Hogan, CHEERS’ “Cliff Cleven,” etc., descended on the store and tore it apart, making way for the new, modern, 21st century, all-new-look Radio Shack.

Point made. Radio Shack’s brand certainly needed some dusting off. For many, it’s that place where you can find oddly shaped batteries and for some reason, the sales staff always want to know your zip code.

With a bit of humor, Radio Shack made it’s point that it’s not that “weird little 80s store” anymore.

There was A LOT less “T&A” which had been the hallmark of the racy “Go Daddy” spots. Instead, the segments served to salute the hard work and determination of the small business owner. Of course, I’ve found a lot of people don’t really quite know what Go Daddy does—I think it has something to do with getting domain names, URLs, websites?—but at least their spots showed a step in the right direction.

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